Book Blitz: Dicey Grenor

We’re really excited to be a part of this summer’s Author Blitz put together by Books and Broomsticks. We are the proud hosts of author Dicey Grenor, who’s kind enough to answer far too many of our questions. We’re also giving away an e-copy of her Narcoleptic Vampire series to one lucky winner so be sure to keep reading…

You can see the Blitz schedule here. And join in on their Facebook event today, July 26th, at 3 pm!

Let’s start by talking about your books! You wrote the Narcoleptic Vampire series following your protagonist Sleepy Willow. Can you introduce people who aren’t familiar with it to a little bit about what they can expect from this series?

Thank you for having me on your blog today! The Narcoleptic Vampire Series is edgy. It’s raw and hardcore. It’s for adults who like characters that aren’t perfect and story lines that aren’t formulaic. Sleepy Willow is a vampire with narcolepsy, who works in a fetish club as a Necrophilia Specialist, and has a love interest with a personality disorder. This is during an era when vampirism is illegal, and Willow’s fighting with her maistre vampire for freedom from his tyranny. There are quite a few supernatural creatures to follow as the series goes on. On one layer, there are shocking sex scenes, taboo situations, and dysfunction all around. For those willing to dig deeper, there is a layer that encourages readers to think about their own world views and how they relate to others.

Did you always want to write about vampires? Or did it just happen by chance?

I’ve always wanted to write, and I’ve always loved vampire stories. It was only a matter of time before my passion for both would merge. Coming up with a unique concept in this saturated genre was difficult, but important to me, particularly because I wanted my work to stand out. Once I became serious about writing a novel, I wrote SHAMEFUL first, hoping a vampire idea would come soon. It did. Getting my first novel out of the way, gave me the momentum I needed. Fresh ideas for my vampire series flowed easily after that. I moved full steam ahead to my heart’s content. If I happen to end up being the last person writing about vampires, that would be A-ok with me. It’s in my blood.

So… narcolepsy. Definitely not something I’ve seen with vampires or romance novels before. Where did the inspiration come from for that?

Ah. Thank you. Being different was part of my grand scheme. *smile* Hubby and I were discussing dangerous situations a vampire might find him or herself in. He brought up narcolepsy as a joke, and we had fun with it. But once it came to mind, I couldn’t shake the idea, and decided to write my main character with the condition. I intended to write humorous situations, but still remain respectful of anyone who actually lived with the disorder. A few readers with narcolepsy and some who work professionally with sleep disorders have expressed their thanks and admiration for how I’ve treated the subject matter. That warms my heart to no end.

Do you have a “type” of reader? Romance lovers? Paranormal lovers? Or do you find your book attracts all kinds of readers?

I’d love for everyone to read my books and think they are the greatest inventions since sliced bread, but that will never happen. I definitely have a target audience: paranormal romance lovers who want something different, unpredictable, AND prefer their books to be edgy. If you’re squeamish or easily offended over profanity, explicit sex, graphic violence, and/or taboo situations, my books are not for you. There are plenty of other people who write those books. I’m interested in going against the grain. I warn people to death about them, so I no longer feel guilty when someone reads my books out of curiosity and become offended. They were warned. I have no intent of watering down my content to gain mainstream attention or to avoid offending anyone. I just have to put the extra time into finding my audience, but I know those readers are out there, since I am one of them.

You keep a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a Youtube channel. Do you enjoy the extra engagement with your readers? Is it a lot of work?

I really do enjoy interacting with my readers. When they are fans who love my work, it is the best thrill ever to receive that love from them. If it’s someone who didn’t enjoy my book, it is depressing as hell. You have to take the good with the bad, I suppose, and all things in between. Yes, it IS a lot of work, but it can be very rewarding. There are times when I cannot maintain my pages effectively—like right now, during these summer months. When that happens, I still make it a point to respond to each person that contacts me. I may not be posting regularly, but I will not let an opportunity to engage with a reader pass me by.

What have you been reading lately? Any must-reads?

I’ve been reading books that are as off-the-wall as the ones I write, maybe more so. My favorites from the past few weeks are: Heat by R. Lee Smith, Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas, and Tangled by Emma Chase. Do not approach Heat and Comfort Food casually. They are must-reads for those who can handle it, but NOT for everyone. Do not attempt to read those two if you cannot handle graphic violence, explicit sex, and hardcore situations. Tangled is hilariously written from a male’s POV. I post reviews on Goodreads for anyone with similar reading interests to follow.

 

Thanks so much to Dicey for answering our questions. And now you can win an e-copy of her 3-book Narcoleptic Vampire Series!

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Art and Intrigue in The Art Forger

One of our upcoming reviews will be for The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro. The book follows down-and-out artist Claire who makes her living doing reproductions and gets involved in a forgery scheme involving one of the world’s most notorious art heists. A book for art lovers and mystery lovers alike, The Art Forger is a unique novel that’s full of information about painting and forgery.

It’s currently a New York Times Bestseller and is a November IndieNext pick, so there’s definite buzz building around this book. (Also, I can’t get over that gorgeous cover. Swoon.)

I got a chance to sit down with Shapiro and ask her some questions about her book. She’s written several previous novels, mostly suspense novels, that cover a wide variety of subjects. The Safe Room touches on the Civil War and the supernatural and Blind Spots main character is a forensic psychologist who evaluates the sanity of murderers.  So I wasn’t surprised that her mantra isn’t “Write what you know,” but “Write what you want to learn about.”

Readers may be surprised to learn that Shapiro isn’t an artist. She’s a lover of art and museums but has no background in it. Instead, she conducted copious research on paint and forgery techniques to create the lifelike scenes in her book.

So how did this book come about? As an empty nester, she moved back to Boston and found herself surrounded by galleries and museums. The museum founded by Isabella Stewart Gardner stands out as a unique space, designed with input from Gardner, where works are displayed through a maze of rooms without any identifying cards. “I’d always wanted to write about Isabella Stewart Gardner,” she says, but wasn’t sure how to tell a story about the early-20th-century patron of the arts and larger-than-life Boston figure that could tie in to the intrigue of the modern Gardner heist.

The unassuming exterior of the Gardner Museum.

That crime, committed in 1990, has fascinated and baffled for over 20 years. The thieves gained entry by dressing as policemen, overpowered the guards on duty and stole a hodgepodge of paintings, drawings and other items. The thieves didn’t appear to be experienced with art, they even cut two Rembrandts out of their frames. And unlike most other major art heists, the paintings have never been recovered. In fact, there’s been hardly a whisper of what might have become of them.

As for Gardner, she’s known not only for her museum (in her will she declared that nothing can be moved, so it’s always exactly the same) but for her rebellious eccentricities, refusing to fit into the mold of the proper society woman. She was regularly the subject of gossip and there are stories of her walking a lion on a leash like a pet. It’s only surprising that we haven’t seen more of Gardner in fiction. (Perhaps we will? In our previous interview with author William Kuhn, he revealed he’s currently considering a novel on Gardner and one of her favorite artists–and mine–John Singer Sargent.)

Protagonist Claire serves as the gateway to the story, inspired by the author’s experiences meeting struggling gallery owners and struggling artists in the South End of Boston. While learning more about Boston’s artists, Shapiro fell in love with a piece of sculpture by conceptual artist Joyce McDaniel. (And later bought it after she sold the book!)

To put together all the threads of her plot, which includes Claire’s adventure in the present as well as the adventures of Gardner in the past, Shapiro used multi-color note cards. She drew inspiration from Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. And, of course, the city of Boston itself shines throughout the novel, from the bars of SoWa to the bright windows of Newbury Street.

The Art Forger is published by Algonquin Books.

Watch the book trailer here:

Many thanks to B. A. Shapiro for sitting down with me (and tolerating the fussy baby I was toting) and for the delightful conversation.